We are honoured to announce that Howard Park's Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon has been awarded Three Merits in The Real Review's Wine Classification of Australia. As the first wine Howard Park ever made in 1986, it remains our flagship to this day; representing a winemaking journey underpinned by vision, meticulous viticulture, uncompromising commitment to quality, and excellence in winemaking.

The Real Review Wine Classification comprises the greatest wines of Australia and New Zealand with an outstanding track record of a decade or longer. There are just 36 wines in the Australia awarded Three Merits, with the tier described as ‘iconic wines of the country, wines of true provenance and exemplary track record.’ Fewer than 0.5% of wines produced to achieve this tier.

The first Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon (now known as Abercrombie) was made in the Goundrey winery in Denmark by John Wade, the founder of Howard Park. John had a passion for long-lived wines from cool climates, and was quickly convinced that the combination of soil and climate in Mount Barker would prove highly appropriate for the crafting of powerful yet supple, age-worthy Cabernet.

Founding Winemaker John Wade (1994)

The Abercrombie vineyard holds some of the oldest vines in the region. It was identified as suitable for Bordeaux-style Cabernet in the early 1970s and planted with Cabernet Sauvignon in 1975. The Cabernet clone chosen for planting in the Dennis vineyard was the famous Houghton clone, a clone that is specific to Western Australia and possibly may have come from South Africa in the mid- 1800s. The Cabernet was dry grown – without the aid of irrigation – most likely driven by utility at the time, proved crucial to the ultimate success of the vineyard. The vines developed dense and deep root systems that extracted the nourishment required to bear fruit, while lower yields allowed for greater purity, concentration and intensity of flavour in the grape bunches.

While it operated under different owners until 2004, when it was purchased by the Burch family, the grapes from this site have always formed the backbone of the Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon as well as several other wines in the Howard Park range. Both the wine and the vineyard are named after Walter Abercrombie, the much loved Great Grandfather and mentor of Jeff Burch, the owner of Howard Park Wines.

Howard Park’s Abercrombie Vineyard in Mt Barker, Great Southern.
(L) Walter Abercrombie, (R) Original label artwork compared to the current artwork.


Each winery and winemaker is different. For Howard Park, we try to strike a balance between the heritage of this wine and what the intentions were when it was first made, but also who we are now and who we wish to be.

– Natalie Burch


Over the years, the style of Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon has evolved. The Burch family bought vineyards in Margaret River, established a winery there and have since been  devoted to championing both regions – Margaret River and the Great Southern. With this in mind, the Abercrombie now is generally a blend of both regions. Each brings a different element to the wine – the Great Southern brings a fine elegance, structure,longevity and a solid backbone while Margaret River brings palate weight and power.

Regardless of the blend of each vintage, the overarching plan with this wine has remained the same. To make the best Cabernet Sauvignon we can possibly make.

– Natalie Burch